Sport and exercise scientist

Sport and leisure

Career outlook for sport and exercise scientist

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would look at the human body, its shape, how it works and moves, and how people think about physical activity. You would work with athletes and sports people and help them to become better at what they do.

You might also work with the public to help them to improve their health through exercise, or recover from injury or illness through physical activity.

You could:

  • Work with staff such as sports coaches and sports therapists to assess sports people and help to improve their performance
  • Work with doctors to help people improve their health through physical activity
  • Work with hospitals and Clinical Commissioning Groups in areas such as cardiac rehabilitation and health promotion
  • Take part in research projects
  • Give advice on the design of sports equipment

Working conditions


You would typically work around 38 hours a week, which may include weekends and evenings to cover appointments with clients. You may have to work extra hours to complete research.


Depending on your job role, you could be based in a consultation room, but may occasionally work in other locations, such as sports stadiums. In health promotion, you would usually work in an office and may need to travel to visit partners, such as charities or sports organisations.


You may need to travel to visit partners, such as charities or sports organisations.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Filtering
  • Developing a plan
  • Analysing

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


Entry is very competitive. You would need a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in sport and exercise science, or in biology/physical education with a postgraduate sports sciences qualification (SCQF level 11).

Entry to a sports science degree (SCQF level 9/10) generally requires four National 5 qualifications and at least four Highers or a relevant HNC/HND qualification (SCQF level 7/8).

Some universities offer an integrated master's (SCQF level 11) combining a degree and master's courses. Entry is the same as for a degree.

You should have a strong interest and some ability in sports, and also an interest in science.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Science subjects (required by most courses)
  • Physical education
  • Health & food technologies
  • Social studies such as psychology

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

Relevant work experience or voluntary work may improve your chances of getting a place on a course.

Qualifications and experience that show understanding of sports, exercise, diet and science such as Skills for Work Laboratory Science (SCQF level 5) or Sports and Recreation (SCQF level 4/5).